Sanger Historical Files (1859-1865), Excerpts

About this collection
During his tenure as president of the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) from 1925-1956, Dr. William T. Sanger (1883-1975) directed the college staff to locate and gather in one place the historical records of the institution. The resulting compilation, known as the Sanger Historical Files, was transferred to the Tompkins-McCaw Library (now known as the Health Sciences Library) Special Collections and Archives in 1970. The files consist of official records, publications, correspondence, reports, receipts, photographs, and other materials which document the history of MCV from the 1840s until 1968. One of the most complete segments of the collection is the letters, reports, and hospital records meticulously saved by Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Levin S. Joynes (1819-1881) who guided MCV through the tumultuous years of the American Civil War.

On the eve of the war, MCV opened its new hospital adjacent to the college building on Marshall Street. The 80-bed facility with gas lights and a surgical amphitheater was soon filled with sick and wounded soldiers. The Sanger Historical Files include a listing of discharged and deceased soldiers and inventories of the personal effects of those who died while patients in the college hospital. There are also letters which chronicle the difficulties of managing the hospital, obtaining provisions and medicine, and working with the Confederate government. MCV was strategically located in the Confederate capital and able to offer Handwritten section of hospital records, reading 'Medical College Hospital' educational opportunities to hospital stewards stationed in the Richmond area. Their stories, as revealed in their letters, are found in this digital collection. The challenges faced by Dr. Levin Joynes while guiding his colleagues and sustaining the educational program during times of war can be gleaned from the faculty correspondence saved in the Sanger Historical Files. The dean's reports to the second auditor concerning college affairs and the "secession of southern medical students" are also a significant part of this digital collection.

VCU Libraries selected excerpts from the Sanger Historical Files for its contribution to the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries' (ASERL) collaborative digital project, Civil War in the American South. The materials presented in this digital collection tell the story of the Medical College of Virginia's struggle and ultimate survival during the internecine conflict that defined the United States in the nineteenth century.

Each selected item from the Sanger Historical Files is presented as both a high-resolution JPEG 2000 file suitable for zooming and a PDF. Transcripts, with minimal annotations enclosed in square brackets, are included to enhance access to these rich resources.

Items in this collection were digitized in 2011.

This material is in the public domain in the United States and thus is free of any copyright restriction. Acknowledgement of Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries as a source is requested.